One of Gov. Rick Scott’s top promises when elected was to create an environment more friendly to business. According to Doug Bournique, executive vice president of the Indian River Citrus League, Scott asked for their input on cutting red tape and his association took the governor up on his request. “This year, our top priorities emanated from a request from Gov. Scott to the industry asking for ways his office could help relieve some of the unnecessary red tape and financial burden on our industry,” he says. “We responded with a letter on behalf of the entire citrus industry with six detailed items. These items ranged from packinghouse discharge and tax relief to consumptive use permits streamlining and assistance in water farming and dispersed water storage. The Governor has responded in spades by providing relief on all requested points, capped by a visit in May to tour our industry and hear firsthand of our research needs.”
Help On The Way
Bournique adds the Governor, as well as the Florida legislature, felt it was appropriate to provide tax relief to all packinghouses, not just those packinghouses located on the farm. He also agreed with providing relief for packinghouse discharge. “This relief will save thousands of dollars in unnecessary paperwork and duplication of sampling yet maintain the environmental integrity of the discharge,” he says. “Lastly, water farming is being thoroughly supported as a future tool for water management here in our area.”
Members Making A Difference
Bournique noted that any association is only as strong as the members who make up the organization. That holds true for the Indian River Citrus League. “Our recent success with getting relief for citrus packinghouse percolation ponds falls squarely on the broad shoulders of George Hamner Jr., who went to Tallahassee numerous times with the Florida Citrus Packers Association and League to ensure success on this important issue. It will save Florida packinghouses tens of thousands of dollars by reducing unnecessary engineering costs.”
Bournique also noted Dan Richey, who has closely monitored the European situation and its impact of fresh fruit shipments and including the bilateral trade meetings, which will have a direct impact on Florida’s ability to ship to Europe in the future. “Dan’s political skills and contacts have been critical in moving the needle on this important access issue,” he says. Richey is not new to industry service. For his advocacy and positive attitude, he was recognized as the 2007 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner.